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CW McCall, country singer of ‘Convoy’, dies aged 93: obituary – Billboard

CW McCall, the baritone country singer best known for his 1976 CB-inspired chart-topping “Convoy,” has died at the age of 93. Bill Fries III; The singer announced in February that he was receiving cancer treatment at a hospice.

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Best known for his outlaw-country anthems, Audubon, the Iowa-bred Fries achieved musical fame through his job as creative director at Omaha advertising agency Bozell & Jacobs, where he wrote a 1973 Clio-award-winning TV campaign for Old Bread home. The jingle told the story of trucker CW McCall, who hauled the Metz Baking Company’s goods in his 18-wheeler while having a romance with a waitress named Mavis who worked at the Old Home Filler-Up and Keep on a-Truckin’ Cafe worked in Pisgah, Iowa.

Ads clicked and bread sales soared as fans became intrigued by the fictional couple, prompting Fries to cast them in a modestly selling promotional single for Metz titled “Old Home Filler-Up an ‘Keep On A-Truckin’ Cafe.” to transform. The song was written by Fries and Bozell’s in-house jingle writer Chip Davis, who later went on to form Mannheim Streamroller and collaborated with Fries on a number of other songs over the next half decade. Nashville’s MGM Records soon took an interest, and Fries invented his iconic truck-life story song “Convoy,” peppered with a variety of CB radio catchphrases.

“Ah, interrupter one-nine, this is the rubber ducky/ You gotta copy to me, Pig Pen, come on?/ Ah, yes, 10-4, Pig Pen, sure, sure/ By God it’s clean Clear to Flag Town c’mon/ Yeah that’s a big 10-4 there, Pig Pen/ Yeah we definitely got the front door good mate/ Mercy willes alive looks like we got a convoy,” Fries redets- sings in the song’s intro, which balances its deep, frothy vocals with a bright chorus of chirping female voices: “‘Cause we got a little ol’ convoy/ Rockin’ through the night/ Yeah, we got a little ol’ convoy / Isn’t she a beautiful sight? / Come on and join our convoy / Nothing will stand in our way / We will roll this truck convoy / ‘Cross the USA.’

The song rose to #1 on the Billboard pop and country charts in 1975-76, at a time when CB radios were gaining broader cultural significance, appearing in both consumer cars and movies white line fever (1975) and the Burt Reynolds/Sally Fields hit comedy Smokey and the Bandit (1977). They were also the focus of a theatrical spin-off of Fries’ Song, the 1978 film directed by Sam Pekinpah convoy, which starred country singer/actor Kris Kristofferson as a trucker trying to pull together a nationwide convoy to outwit a police officer played by Ernest Borgnine; Fries re-recorded some of the original’s lyrics to more closely follow the film’s plot.

Under his McCall stage name, Fries scored a handful of other charting country hits before ending his performing career in the late 1970s after releasing 9 studio albums beginning with his 1975 debut. Wolf Creek Passthrough his last album of originals, 1979 CW McCall & Co. His other memorable songs included the 1976 environmental anthem “There Won’t Be No Country Music (There Won’t Be No Rock ‘n’ Roll)”, the 1977 emotional ballad “Roses for Mama” and “Four Wheel Cowboy”. . ‘ (1976) and ‘Outlaws and Lone Star Beer’ of 1978.

Billie Dale Fries was born on November 15, 1928 in Audubon, Iowa and spent a year at the University of Iowa before returning home to start a sign painting business. After retiring from music, Fries served as mayor of Ouray, Colorado from 1986 to 1992.

Listen to “Convoy” below.

https://www.billboard.com/music/country/c-w-mccall-bill-fries-convoy-singer-dead-93-obituary-1235054998/ CW McCall, country singer of ‘Convoy’, dies aged 93: obituary – Billboard

Adam Bradshaw

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